Small Business

Dina Kaplan on Making More Women Entrepreneurs


The former TV news reporter and co-founder of Web video startup blip.tv says women tech entrepreneurs should help one another

Women start high-growth or venture-backed companies at a much lower rate than men. Why?

Many founders of scalable Internet companies are engineers and programmers. There are far fewer women in that field than men. We need to encourage more girls and teens to consider going into programming.

So there's a lack of role models?

I could name for you the women who are prominent founders in our field, and that's sad. You have Caterina Fake, you have the women who founded the Gilt Groupe, you have Leah Culver who was involved in Pownce, but you can't list off dozens of women founders of Internet companies.

You've said women founders are sometimes held to a different standard than men. How so?

It's fair to say that people have their eye on you, which comes with positives and negatives. It can help in the sense that people will remember you, they'll notice you at meetings, and that's a really strong positive. It has a potential to run negative as well, if you don't fit the perfect stereotype of an entrepreneur. There's an expectation that the next Mark Zuckerberg will look like Mark Zuckerberg.

How can women in tech and media support each other?

There is a very strong camaraderie emerging among women in digital media. Women founders can encourage friendships and build a support network and potential business relationships to try to create a bit of an "old girls' club" for digital media.

Tozzi covers small business for Businessweek.com.

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